Yes, sharks do kill people. And they also occasionally maim people. But they are not NEARLY as big of a threat as the media makes them out to be. Statistics differ slightly depending on the source of information, but the facts are clear: sharks kill far fewer people than you think and you'd be shocked to discover which animals are truly the most dangerous.
According to Bill Gates's blog, gatesnotes.com, the deadliest animal in the world BY FAR is the mosquito. Killing approximately 725,000 people per year, the mosquito, while seemingly benign, often carries deadly diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, and encephalitis. Found on every continent of the world except Antarctica, the mosquito outnumbers any other animal on the planet, with the exception of termites and ants. They affect population patterns in a major way and yet they get almost no media air time. Sharks kill, on average, ten people per year and yet we hear about them on the news constantly. What's the deal?
Interestingly, the next biggest killer of humans is the snake (average 50,000 human deaths per year), followed by some additional insects. Next up, at 10,000 per year? The freshwater snail! As carriers of a parasite which cause an infection called "schistosomiasis" (say that five times fast), snails can cause humans to develop symptoms such as fever, paralysis, and even death. Terrifying! Fight your desire to swim in canals and reservoirs as these parasites can be rampant in contaminated water.
So, that menacing shark that haunts your nightmares and keeps you from swimming in the ocean? He's the least of your worries. The chances of you coming into contact with a shark in the ocean are extremely low and the bottom line is, he's not interested in you. He wants to eat the fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and marine animals that he preys on every day. He most likely wants to stay away from you and be left alone to enjoy his ocean habitat freely. So respect the shark, do not fear the shark. They are beautiful, graceful, and fascinating creatures who want nothing to do with you. At Water Gallery, we revere the shark's majestic beauty and that's way we are so excited to feature Wyland's Shark Reef on one of our upcoming bottles. Let's all celebrate the shark and stop unnecessarily demonizing this incredible creature!